By US Equestrian Communications Department
The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team completed the SAP Cup CCIO4*-S at CHIO Aachen finishing in second place overall following the final phase of cross-country today. Germany took the win on an overall team total of 104.9 penalties, while Great Britain finished third on 136.60. The U.S. team finished three of four combinations inside the top six, with Tamie Smith and Mai Baum earning an individual podium finish in third place. The cross-country track was designed by Rüdiger Schawrz (GER) and saw 39 completions, with zero combinations finishing within the time allowed of six minutes and 55 seconds.
“I’m encouraged because we planned to come here with the strongest possible team that we could field to make a statement to ourselves that Pratoni wasn’t a one-off. It was very strategic, and we came with the expectation of a strong finish and I’m glad we were able to produce a successful result,” said Chef d’Equipe Bobby Costello. “Make no mistake, everyone will go away from this competition, even with the good result, knowing that there are still gaps to be filled and areas of improvement, and that’s what makes champions. Being honest with yourself throughout the entirety of the competition, and regardless of the result, there’s still so much to learn if we want to keep pressing for medals.”
Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Z were the trailblazers for the team out on the track, which saw a bit of damp weather roll into the area, creating wetter conditions on the day, which proved costly for many combinations. Z, a 2008 Zangersheide gelding owned by Ann Jones, Caroline Moran, David & Patricia Vos, Evie Dutton, Suzanne Lacy, and Thomas Tierney, showed his experience and confidence with Dutton, finishing with just 5.2-time penalties. The pair finished sixth overall on a 38.
With feedback from Dutton reaching the barns, Liz Halliday-Sharp (Lexington, Ky.) and Miks Master C rode out as the second combination for the team. In his Aachen debut, the 2012 Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Deborah Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties, gave Halliday-Sharp a great ride, navigating all the combinations and open gallops according to their initial plan, adding just 4.40-time penalties. The duo earned fifth place overall on a final total of 36.50 to help the team solidify their podium finish.
Tamie Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) and Mai Baum were pressed to produce a clear round for the team to keep them within the hunt of Germany, Great Britain, and New Zealand, and the seasoned combination delivered. Smith was fast and confident in her guidance of the 2006 German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alex Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell, around the course, coming into a massive of cheer from the filled Main Stadium and adding just 1.6 time to their score, finishing in third overall on a 33.70.
“It’s really a dream to be on the podium at Aachen, both as a team and individually. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse and it’s a dream to have a competitive score like that against the world’s best and hopefully there’s more to come,” said Smith of her experience at CHIO Aachen this year.
Anchor combination Will Coleman (Gordonsville, Va.) and Off The Record ran into trouble at the Turkish Airlines complex, which had given numerous combinations a challenge throughout the day. Off The Record, a 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate, slipped out behind before the first question of the combination, running out of room and sliding out to the side of the jump. The pair found their way through the option at the combination, but an accidental re-presentation added an additional 20 to the pair’s overall score. They finished in 38th overall on a 109.30.
Dan Kreitl (Muncie, Ind.) and Carmango competed this week as the individual combination on the squad, finishing on a total three-phase score of 83.60. The pair added 20 penalties late towards the course and come home with time to take 35th overall.